Building the Big Top
Here is a little look at the creation process for the Carnival Diablo Big Top. Enjoy the journey...
Putting the boards upI had to create a special wall to paint the bannerline. Basically it is there to stretch each banner while I paint them upright. I turned my living room into a shop for 3 months.
Soaking the canvasOne of the first things I had to do after getting the canvas back from the seamstress was soak it in hot water, so that it would shrink down to it's final size.
Hanging the first bannerThis was the first banner hung up for painting. All the corners of the canvas were professionally sewn with 4 rows of stitching so that they would be strong enough to hold up to the inclement weather.
I'd like to thank Edith Chartier for being a great seamstress and seaming all of my banners!
Creating a backgroundEach banner had it's own special background created that would look aged and weathered. It is important to me to create a interesting foundation to work on. I have spent years perfecting this technique.
The start of the first bannerI decided to tackle one of the hardest banners first. A portrait of myself in character. The process to this point was around 14 hours of painting.
Adding detailNext I started adding the details that tell the story of who I am. This is a rather whimsical painting and I had a lot of fun working on it.
The faceAll though I live with my face on a daily basis, I find it is hard to capture my own likeness in a painting. I spent quite a few hours toying with this part of the banner to try and capture the essence to who I am.
It starts with a sketchAll of my ideas start with a sketch. This is an idea I had for the Mystic Menagerie banner. I wanted something that was not just a group of paintings of exotic artifacts, but a cohesive whole. In the end this banner became the most whimsical.
Laying down the backgroundThis banner was going to be bright and colorful, so I wanted to have a background that really popped. I decided on orange because historically Sideshow banners had bright orange borders. Why? Because orange is an attractor color. Your eye is immediately drawn to the color.
Starting the foregroundWith all banner painting you work your way from the back to the front. Dark's to lightest.
I created a contrast by having the center frame in a lime green against the orange so that it would pop.
Another banner stretchedThe third banner was soaked for 4 hours in hot water and then stretched onto the wall board.
The 3rd banner backgroundThe third banner was created with a purple background, because the color purple apart being a royal color, also is seen as the most putrid color on the color scale. For some reason this color can bring on nausea in some people.
Painting detailsThe 3rd banner is of Vassago, our newest Attraction. I wanted this banner to have a pseudo Victorian Sci-Fi feel.
More purple on 4th bannerThe 4th banner is one of two 'Greeter' banners. They will flank both sides of the entrance of the Big Top.
Again I used the color purple for the background because of it's strange appeal.
Laying down colorsLike a puzzle, the background colors get laid down in blocks. At first it does not make sense and looks like an abstract painting... but soon all will be revealed.
Astounding 'Greeter' bannerThe finished greeter banner. Bright, colorful and a bit frightening. My sentinel to the Big Top.
It is here!While painting the banners, my Big Top arrived by UPS. One more piece to the puzzle... and this was an exciting day!
Second 'Greeter'The second 'Greeter' banner was of Pazuzu. This is in the early stages of painting him.
The final banner backgroundThe final banner took me a while to figure out what it was going to be. I knew I wanted a very dark background.
Laying down the foregroundA dark and strange banner. I enjoyed creating this one because it gives the viewer a sense of foreboding...
Prop huntingOne of the most important things to me is detail. I try and create a complete world that you can fall in to.
These are some of my acquisitions for the inside of the tent.
The trunk is called a Jenny Lind trunk named after Jenny Lind a famous songstress from the 19th Century that P.T. Barnum made famous. This is the type of trunk she carried her personal belongings during her road tours. On top of the trunk is a megaphone used to call the people in before the show.
Old Horn SpeakersCarnival Diablo's Big Top would not be complete without horn speakers hanging on the bannerline announcing the show!
Unboxed chairsThis pic shows the chairs inside the trailer. I had to make sure that they would all fit. Luckily they did.
Chair detailsEvery detail is important and I wanted the chairs to have my finger print on them also. So I painted a red star on the backs of each chair.
A mini stage for VassagoI wanted to showcase Vassago the Mechanical Marvel the best way possible, so I built a small platform stage.
Michael KinghornMy friend Michael Kinghorn created all of the hardware for the bannerline. This was done at Kinghorn Blacksmithing.
Michael is a great artist in his own right.
Banner bucklesTo hang the banners up on the poles each banner must have reinforced leather and metal corners. You can see the triple seaming on the canvas in this pic also. Everything is built to withstand the worst Canadian weather.
Painting banner polesAs we come to the last tasks in building this Amazing Show, I paint the banner poles.